Vehicles Axed in 2013

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

A lot went down in 2013. It was something of a banner year for the automotive business. Products continued to get better, sales steadily improved and alternative propulsion, whether in the form of electricity or diesel gained significant traction.

Beyond all of this, a new Chevrolet Corvette was introduced; Ford revealed its next-generation Mustang; and it was announced that Mary Barra will become the next CEO of General Motors. The times, they are uh-changin’ and for the better.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Automotive News Stories of 2013

But it wasn’t all puppies, cotton candy and songs about holding hands; quite a few nameplates were culled in 2013. Here’s a list of vehicles that were terminated last year, some of which we’re sad to see go, others probably should have never made it into production.

Acura’s ugly duckling, the ZDX, has never been a strong performer. Sure, it’s pleasant to drive and built to a high standard but its controversial styling doomed it from the start. Late in 2012 it was announced this sporty crossover was getting culled, though dealers continued to sell them throughout all of last year, if only barely. In fact, they delivered a paltry 361 of them… FOR ALL OF 2013! By comparison more than 53,000 examples of the more traditional-looking MDX utility vehicle were sold.
Audi’s versatile A3 hatchback is no longer available. This platinum-edition VW Golf featured either a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine or an efficient clean diesel. The former delivered a spunky 200 HP with 207 LB-FT of torque; the TDI cranked out 140 ponies and 236 LB-FT of twist. With premium features, an available manual transmission and quattro all-wheel drive this is another car we’re sad to see go.
Five-cylinder engines are typically about as enjoyable as running a cheese grater across your genitals. They’re an off-kilter middle finger to physics and everything Newton stood for. The 2.5-liter unit Volkswagen recently euthanized was gritty, inefficient and moaned like a constipated camel. But they’re not all terrible.

The 2.5-liter fiver found under the Audi TT-RS’s hood belted out 360 turbocharged horses and screamed like a street-legal racecar. It was matched exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission. Power was sent to all four of the petite performance car’s corners via quattro all-wheel drive. Needless to say this was an enthusiast’s machine, and it sat at the top of the Audi’s TT lineup. We’re sad to see this steroidal car perish, but it’s a goner.

Audi’s cross-Bavaria rival BMW also dropped a couple models. Its compact 1 Series is on something of a hiatus in 2014. The nameplate is expected to return shortly, though it will be based on a front-wheel drive architecture instead of the tried-and-true rear-drive layout it currently features. That’s the really disappointing part because it feels like the Ultimate Driving Machine tagline may no longer apply.
But there is some good news in the BMW lineup and all you have to do is step up one size class to find it. The ever-popular 3 Series coupe is dead for 2014. Wait, how is that good news? Well, under normal circumstances we’d mourn this devastating loss but in reality the car lives on. It’s been replaced by the sexy new 4 Series. In North America the Dreier Reihe soldiers on in sedan and wagon body styles.
Yet another BMW met the gallows in 2013. The high-performance X5 M was strung up like Genoa salami in a delicatessen. This artillery-caliber sport utility vehicle sport activity vehicle was powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. With variable valve timing and direct fuel injection is delivered 555 HP and 501 LB-FT of twist. A six-speed automatic was the only transmission available. What’s crazier than a crossover that can sprint from zero to 60 in 4.0 seconds? The fact that BMW built it, that’s what.
Cadillac introduced a brand-new CTS sedan for 2014. It features a gorgeous body, a beautifully done interior and driving dynamics to make BMWs and Audis blush. The car is a winner, but what about the coupe and Sport Wagon versions? Unfortunately they have not been updated at this time; oh, they’re still on the market but they’re the previous-generation of the car, which just isn’t fair. They deserve some love, too! Now, technically the coupe and wagon models haven’t been axed, but they’re not exactly brand new, either, so there!
Utility is usually a strong selling point for larger vehicles. If you’re going to settle for a truck with terrible mileage, it better have more storage space than a cruiseliner’s cargo hold. Blending the seating capacity of a traditional SUV with the open-box versatility of a pickup is Cadillac’s Escalade EXT. It’s essentially a gilded version of the more pedestrian Chevrolet Avalanche, and it’s just as dead. This Caddy was powered by a 6.2-liter V8 engine that delivered 403 HP and 417 LB-FT of torque. Additionally it was available with either rear- or all-wheel drive, but even with extra traction it couldn’t pull itself out of the grave.

In addition to the EXT model, the Escalade hybrid is finished as well. This full-size luxury SUV was designed to maximize fuel economy and it was appreciably more efficient than the standard model. Its drivetrain centered on a 6.0-liter V8 engine that put out 332 HP and 367 LB-FT of torque. With rear- or all-wheel drive the electrified ‘Scalade stickered at 20 miles per gallon city and 23 on the open road. That’s A LOT better than the 15 MPG average a standard AWD version could muster.

The blue-collar version of that versatile Escalade is, of course, the Chevrolet Avalanche. Like the other models in this list the Bow Tie’s most adaptable truck lost its life in 2013. We’ll miss it rugged capability, handsome good looks and comfortable interior. What we won’t shed a tear for is the fuel economy. It’s combined score clocked in at 17 MPG, which wasn’t too bad for a big, heavy vehicle but still, it was thirstier than we’d hoped.

Following in Cadillac’s tire tracks once again (or is it the other way around?) the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid is no longer offered in 2014. This electrified, fuel-sipping SUV featured a 5.3-liter Vortec V8 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Just like the Escalade Hybrid it delivered up to 21 MPG combined. That’s decent mileage but it’s not enough in today’s fuel economy-dominated world.

California-based startup Coda had the audacious idea of challenging established automakers in the electric segment. Their car, called the EV, competed with products like the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric. It offered customers 134 HP and 221 LB-FT of torque, which was enough to accelerate from zero to 60 miles an hour in around 9.5 seconds. The car also came with an advanced lithium-iron phosphate battery pack that would supposedly last for 10 years or 100,000 miles. But bland styling, a chintzy interior, high sticker price and practically no dealers doomed the Coda EV right from the start.
In a way the stylish Fisker Karma is a 21st Century Edsel. This gorgeous electric sports sedan featured a plug-in hybrid drivetrain and some innovative design cues, but gimmicks like these weren’t enough to save the company that built it. The car itself was expensive and had technical issues, some of which led to fires and unless you build barbecue grills that’s NEVER a good thing. Fisker the company may be saved by Chinese investors but for now the Karma is no more.
This vehicular loss is particularly hard to stomach. The Gallardo was a fine supercar and it was the last Lamborghini to offer customers a manual transmission, and a slick six-speed unit at that. The gearbox was controlled by an elegant looking gated shifter that clicked and clacked as you rifled through the ratios. The driving experience was sublime, especially with a 5.2-liter V10 wailing just behind your head. It delivered 560 healthy horsepower, which is more than 100 ponies per liter, a damn-impressive figure for a naturally aspirated engine. The Gallardo was an intoxicating automobile and one we dearly miss.

SEE ALSO: Lamborghini Huracan Gores Gallardo Into History

But perhaps this situation isn’t as bad as it seems. The Gallardo’s replacement has been detailed and it’s a monster. The all-new Huracan is engineered to impress. It’s powered by a 5.2-liter V10 that packs a 610 HP punch. With a curb weight of less than 3,200 pounds it should be able to hit 60 miles an hour from a standstill in just 3.2 seconds. Ok, now you’ve got our attention, though we still miss the manual transmission.

Let’s face it; coupes just aren’t as practical as their sedan counterparts. From an engineering standpoint the two different models can share a ton of parts and corporate know-how, making them relatively easy to engineer and build. But the market has spoken: people prefer four doors. Heeding the call, Nissan dropped its Altima Coupe in 2013. When this car was introduced in mid-2007 as a 2008, model the car was offered with a base four-cylinder engine and an optional V6. But by the time it was discontinued only the four-banger was offered. An Altima coupe? Nobody cares.
The curiously named Subaru Tribeca was forcefully ejected from the American market in 2013. Overall it was a pretty decent product, with three rows of seats, standard all-wheel drive and a good-looking body. It’s amazing the transformation this vehicle made in its second generation. The first version of the Tribeca is probably one of the homeliest crossovers every designed, with a grille that looks like a fish’s mouth. But the company’s styling department finally figured things out with the discontinued model.
Not only did Suzuki discontinue three different nameplates for the 2013 model year, the whole brand bowed out of the North America market. How’s that for dedication? The Kizashi sedan, Grand Vitara sport utility and SX4 small car met their maker(s) last year, which is a real shame. They weren’t necessarily bad products, especially the spunky Kizashi; it’s just that nobody bought them. The midsize sedan was particularly appealing; it looked nice, drove well and delivered respectable fuel economy. It was a solid effort and in many ways more desirable than something like a Toyota Camry. We like the Kizahsi and will miss it.
Similar to Acura’s TSX, the off-road-ready Toyota FJ Cruiser is about to give up the ghost. This retro-styled brute has forded its last creek and climbed its last logging trail. Initially a strong seller, the FJ fell off shoppers’ lists in the years after its introduction. Poor fuel economy from its 260 HP 4.0-liter V6 engine was a major strike against it, as were its truck-like on-road dynamics.
Looking for a compact Toyota hatchback? You’d better check out the Scion store because there’s nothing to see in the Capital T’s showrooms anymore. The Japanese automaker discontinued its Corolla-based Matrix model last year. The boring but bulletproof utility has been offered in the U.S. market for 10 years but weak demand forced the company to rethink its position in their lineup, and they thought it right the hell out of showrooms.
Ostensibly named after a pair of Russian islands chillin’ in the East Siberian Sea, the Volkswagen Routan was the automaker’s latest ill-fated minivan. We say “was” because it’s no more, having been exterminated from their lineup. And so much for “German engineering;” it was essentially a rebadged Chrysler Town & Country (apparently folks in Wolfsburg didn’t get the memo that it’s no longer Daimler Chrysler). Chances are we’d all agree this is one product that should have never been built.
Volvo’s design-conscious C30 hatchback was another victim of 2013. This versatile vehicle featured unmistakable back-end styling with a unique hatch made of glass that extended down into the rear bumper cover. Its interior was just as distinctive and premium.

In ‘Murica the C30 was powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine. It could be matched to either a six-speed manual or an automatic with five forward gears.

But the C30 hatch isn’t the only Volvo that landed on the chopping block last year. The brand’s C70 convertible was axed as well. It featured a complicated though very sturdy retractable hard-top. Two versions of the company’s 2.5-liter turbo five-cylinder engine were offered, though only one transmission was on the menu, the abovementioned five-speed slusher.

Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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3 of 4 comments
  • Zack Zack on Jan 11, 2014

    A simple list with descriptions and pictures is nice. I hate these slideshows you have to wait to load...

  • Verge Godemich Verge Godemich on Jan 16, 2014

    Regarding the Audi TT-RS, the article complains that 5-cylinder engines are not enjoyable and "go against physics." Then it says the motor was fantastic in the TT-RS. Is your author schizophrenic? I seem to remember some awesome Audi Quattro 20-valve 5-cylinder rallye cars back in the 80's. This motor is a VW-Audi staple. If I remember correctly Audi first employed the 5-cylinder engine in the 1976 Audi 100. Bullsh*t about "moaning like a camel." I think they've got it working like a champ over the last 38 years.